Ideas to Make Soup Special

Soup, particularly purees can look a bit like baby food.  So here is the idea: julienne some zucchini, throw on some toasted pine nuts and top with olive oil.  It’s beautiful, tasty and brilliant – and not my idea:)  This dish is from Chez Caro in Arles, France.  It was hot pea soup with either barely cooked or raw zucchini.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in Arles.

Soup Decorations

In our own version, we had a cold zucchini gazpacho and opted to top it with raw cucumbers, toasted pine nuts and olive oil.  Also delicious!

Cream of Broccoli Homemade

You will never buy cream of broccoli soup again once you master this recipe! I used to buy condensed soups, then moved on to fresh in the fridge soups and now make my own. It’s liberating and cheap! Here is one of my winter go-to buddies: cream of broccoli soup using 100% fresh ingredients and gluten free!

Homemade Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup Homemade

Ingredients

Large Fresh Broccoli (1 Lb. or so)

1 Large Potato

1 Cup Fresh Cream (10-15% Fat) OR 1/2 Cup Fresh Cream + 1/2 Cup Whole Milk

Butter

Salt

Pepper

1 Medium Onion

1 Cup Water

Instructions

Cut your broccoli into large chunks, wash, rinse and steam. While the broccoli is steaming, heat 2-4 Tbsp of butter (as much as it takes to cover the pot surface) in a large pot on low. Quickly dice 1 medium onion and add it to the butter, raising the temperature slightly. While the onion is cooking, peel and dice 1 large potato. When the onions are translucent, add the diced potato and 1 cup of water (more water if it doesn’t cover the potato). Don’t be so hard on yourself if you brown some of them – it won’t make a huge difference, just aim for translucence. Using a potato instead of flour keeps it gluten free!

Raise the temperature on the soup and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are soft. At this point, your broccoli is probably finished. I like mine to be a bit bright green to retain a bit of crispiness, but still soft enough for soup. Remind yourself of what it looked like before you cooked it and try to keep the color close. When it’s finished cooking, put it in the food processor and chop it fine (or blender).

Using potatoes as the starchy base instead flour is great for gluten free folks!
Using potatoes as the starchy base instead flour is great for gluten free folks!
Don't cook out the nutrients! Overcooking broccoli can reduce its healthiness.
Don’t cook out the nutrients! Overcooking broccoli can reduce its healthiness.

When the broccoli is blended up, add it back into the potato mixture and heat. When the potatoes are soft, remove the whole liquid to the food processor and blend. You can blend it finely, or loosely. Slowly add the cream or milk to the mixture as it blends. Remove from the blender, heat and then serve! You can make it as soft or chunky as you want – just blend more for smooth soup and less for chunky.

Cream of Broccoli TIP: For super chunky broccoli bits, set aside part of the broccoli before you chop it finely, cut it into the chunky size you want and then add it back into the soup after you have blended everything.

Cream of TIP: You can use the same recipe to make cream of cauliflower! This is an amazing gluten free base for lots of different creamy soup recipes.

Love creamy soups? Try my condensed cream of mushroom replacement soup recipe and never buy canned again!

Condensed Cream of Mushroom Healthy and Homemade

Don’t ever buy canned condensed cream of mushroom again, use this recipe instead!  One staple in Americana food is the ubiquitous red can of gelatinous glob called condensed cream of mushroom. Whether it’s the Thanksgiving classic green bean casserole recipe or a broccoli stir fry, I used to have this can of goo in my pantry and then one day I just said enough. Here is my recipe for a condensed cream of mushroom substitute.  It’s hearty and thick like the condensed version and works well in its place.

Condensed Cream of Mushroom Substitute Recipe: Healthy & Homemade

Ingredients:

Butter or oil

1 Medium onion

1 basket + of mixed mushrooms

4 fl oz heavy cream, diluted with whole milk to taste

We cannot display this galleryInstructions:

Place a pot on the stove and cover the bottom with butter or oil and heat on medium low.  Dice an onion into small pieces and add to the pot when the oil is heated.  Cut the mushrooms into 1″ square pieces or leave whole if they are small and add to the pot when the onions are translucent.  Stir until the mushrooms are fully cooked.  Turn the heat down if the onions start to brown too much, they should caramelize, but not brown.

Once your onions are caramelized and your mushrooms are cooked, which is hopefully at the same time, you can add your “cream.”  I mean to say “cream” because the strength of the soup is really up to you.  Add the 4 fl oz of cream and add to it whatever milk you want.  I have made this for pasta sauces and added a lot of milk.  Other recipes like cauliflower mash, I didn’t use as much.  If you can learn this recipe, you can stop buying those awful cans.  It’s so easy for me to make this right now, considering how many cans of condensed soup I burned growing up it even seems easier.

“Cream of” TIP: I’m experimenting with not having dairy, but I haven’t tried this recipe yet with a non-dairy milk.  I like coconut milk in some dishes, but I don’t know if it would make a good substitute for “creamy” recipes where you would usually use cream of mushroom.  Please comment on your experience if you have tried creamy dishes with non-dairy milk:)